Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

Foreign Policy of Pakistan: Internal Challenges

Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

Foreign Policy of Pakistan: Internal Challenges

Article excerpt


Since the post Cold War period, Pakistan has been in the face of diverse challenges. No doubt, the relative stability and predictability of that era has disappeared and a large number of regional and global alignments have lost significance as well. Old ties and linkages are under stress and almost every state is now reviewing the parameters of its foreign policy. Hence the post Cold War era can be described as New World Order or New World Disorder, as the security of small states has become more challenging than ever before. It has been dilemma of Pakistan that whenever in history, the dictators ruled the country, it was the US administration which found itself easy as the democratic governments relatively prefer to build up relations on mutual basis. From the last few years, the foreign policy of Pakistan has been directionless and to some extent, it has remained reactive too. The country is being run without any national security policy in face of many imposing challenges. The paper will discuss what challenges Pakistan is to face on the foreign policy front without going into details on one-dimensional focus on political aspects of country's foreign relations. It will analyze what issues should be taken up as urgent and important as far as the current challenges of the country are concerned.

Key Words: Cold War, National Interest, Geo-Political, Imperial Lurch, Colonial Rule, SEATO, CENTO, Arabian Peninsula, Détente, Al Qaeda, Taliban, 9/11, GWOT, Indo-US Nexus,


Foreign policy has its genesis in the times when the earliest human societies started contact among them (Frankel, 1998). Since the Treaty of Westphalia (1648)i, which institutionalized the nation-state system and sovereignty, the states have very jealously guarded their sovereignty and it is even more pronounced in the post-colonial era of today (Zuberi, 2009: 25). With the relaxation of the new Cold War, and the emergence of a new Superpower détente, the general politico-security environment has been witnessing unprecedented changes (Jalalzai, 2003: 13). Despite the progress that has been made in International Law, it is obvious that the guiding principle of foreign policy and diplomacy remains the "National Interest" (Zuberi, 2008; 32). While the national interests are the driving forces in foreign policy formulation, they themselves are shaped by both history and geography (Amin, 2009: 33).

There are two ways in which foreign policy is of relevance to the study of world politics. The first relates to the agenda of world politics after 9/11 and the renewal of foreign policy per se. The second relates more closely to an academic dialogue between the literature on foreign policy and International Relations. Foreign policy is the "strategy or approach chosen by the national government in order to achieve its goals in its relations with the external entities. This includes decisions to do nothing" (Hudson, 2008: 12). Generally, foreign policy of a nation is the face that it carries to the outer world. However in real meaning, it is the "sum-total of the values that must guide its conduct in the comity of nations and of its national interests that it must protect and maintain. It also symbolises a "set of political, economic and strategic objectives that a country seeks to follow, bilaterally or multilaterally, in its relations with other countries of the world (Ahmed, 2007).

Four Major Constants/Motivations in Pakistan's Foreign Policy

A provident foreign policy is no more than a part of the salutary strategy for a better future (Sattar, 2010: 353). Like any other state in the world, the basic motivation of Pakistan's foreign policy is to 'safeguard the country's vital national interests'. Since beginning, the external relations of Pakistan have been marked by 4 major constants. These are in the order of priority;

1. Pakistan's Independence - Pursuing its security and survival as an independent state

2. …

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